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Saturday, June 15, 2013

On Friendship and Sustainability

My plan in coming to Europe for the month of June entailed some quality time here in Romania between and around two academic conferences, one last weekend at UBB/FSEGA here in town, and the other from the 20th to the 22nd in Opole, Poland.  (Of course, visits to my friends in Fellbach, Germany, were planned at both ends of my stay.)  The conference in Poland is to be about "sustainability" in business and in development.

The Cluj conference went well last week.  I enjoyed it, and learned from it.  And, I was in the process of preparing my talk for Opole, when I received two days ago an e-mail that caused me to rethink sustainability.

One of my friends in New Hampshire wrote to report a "health issue."  He is a friend I have known for twenty years, and worked closely with all that time.  He is my age, and a fine gentleman.  He was my golf partner for five years in the local Tuesday night men's league in our part of New Hampshire, and during those years we won trophies for third, second and first places in the league.  We are buddies, we are respecting colleagues, we are friends.

My friend wrote that he has been diagnosed, just two weeks following his retirement from Plymouth State University, with stage 4 cancer, found in both lungs and his liver.

After weeping and praying for my friend, I called him and learned he is planning to fight the disease with all his might.  I am glad for that, but I also know that he is in for some very tough times.  My reaction was to rethink my own priorities.  I decided to do what I feel is most worthwhile, and avoid unnecessary stress.  I know little about sustainability, but I know one thing, and it has just been emphasized to me.

I am not sustainable.  I have a limited time to look forward to, albeit not yet with a defined limit.  But during that time, I shall cherish my friendships, and go and do what matters most to me.  Hence, I have decided to cancel my trip to Poland, and stay here in Cluj for that precious week.  I have decided to urge my beloved Shirley to come and spend the latter two weeks of my time here with me.  Shirl has responsibilities at home to rearrange, but she is trying now to make that happen.

Be well, dear friends, and love one another.  We are none of us "sustainable."  But, perhaps, the good that we do, and the love that we give, can survive us.  

Amin, Amen.

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